What Veterinary Students Should Know about Student Loans

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Scholarships and Grants

Unlike student loans, scholarships and grants do not need to be repaid.

For more information about veterinary scholarships, please visit the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) scholarship page. This page includes AVMF scholarships as well as a link to the AVMF’s external scholarship database.

The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP) is a grant program offered by the federal government. The VMLRP will pay up to $25,000 each year towards qualified educational loans of eligible veterinarians who agree to serve in a designated veterinarian shortage situation for a period of three years. If you’re interested in rural, large animal or public practice, this is a great opportunity!

We encourage you to explore other scholarship and grant opportunities through local veterinary organizations or national associations. For example, your state VMA may have a list of options and resources available to veterinary students.

Student Loans

How much money should you borrow?
Here's a hint: as little as possible! Interest on federal loans for graduate and professional students accumulates while you are in school, so your best strategy is to take out only the amount you absolutely need each term. Keeping a budget will help you determine what you actually need versus the offered amount, and ultimately you may then be able to borrow less. Visit these budgeting resources for more financial planning information.

Federal vs. Private Loans
The federal government funds federal loans and determines the maximum interest and fees. Federal loans offer access to income-driven federal loan repayment opportunities and protections for borrowers that are not necessarily available through private loans. A large majority, if not all, of your loans will be federal student loans.

For information on the different types of federal loans, please visit the VIN Student Debt Center’s page on student loan types.

The interest rate and fees of private student loans are based on your credit score and may vary depending on the school you attend. FinAid.org provides a list of major private education loans. While your federal loan package should be enough to cover the full cost of attendance, you can find a loan provider through AVMA LIFE’s partnership with Credible if you need a small private loan. Remember that private loans do not offer the same repayment options or borrower protections as federal loans.

Keeping track of your loan(s)
Once you've signed the papers and the loan wheels are set in motion, keep track of your loans. You can use FinAid's Student Loan Checklist as a quick-reference for important loan information. To track your federal loan balances, visit the U.S. Department of Education's central database: National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).